Thursday, May 22, 2014

Q& A Time!

This segment will address frequently asked Q&A's we hear often from our customers at the shop. If you have a question, please email it to us at 

Do I need to sand before painting with Chalk Paint®?

Chalk Paint® decorative paint adheres to almost any surface, indoors and out. There's rarely a need to sand or prime before painting. Most times cleaning and dusting off the surface will do. There may be at times, however, when you'll need to sand to remove loose paint, rust, and other surface debris, or when the surface is very glossy. For example laminates, melamine, and mirror finishes may need light sanding to haze the finish. Don't sand too much! You don't need to sand down to the wood or scratch the laminate surface.

Can I paint my kitchen counter tops and black splash with Chalk Paint®?

It's not advisable to paint counter tops nor a back splash. Chalk Paint® decorative paint, even when sealed with a quality sealer such as Annie Sloan Soft Wax or Annie Sloan Lacquer, will not be 100% non-porous and this can present problems with cross contamination. The surface my appear clean but it may not be deep down. 

Are Chalk Paint® and Soft Wax good choices for kitchen and bathroom cabinets?

YES! You can use Chalk Paint® decorative paint on most wood cabinetry. Chalk Paint® is meant to give character and interest to cabinetry rather than a perfectly smooth "factory" finish. Typically there is no need to sand or prime although in areas that receive a lot of use, like the cutlery drawer, it might be wise to lightly sand to remove stubborn grease. Soft Wax makes a good bond to the paint for durability. You can easily maintain your finish by simply wiping the surface with a soft cloth and mild soap and water to clean and refresh every now and again with a light application of wax as needed.

More Q&A will be featured on our Facebook page as well as Part 2 here on the web.
We hope this is helpful and look forward to chatting with you soon!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

house to Home

It seems like I have Grand Ideas of projects I'd like to tackle in my house.  Yes, I use house as it's not a good reflection of my style.  Home is wherever I am with my family...sometimes it's the House...sometimes it's my family home down south, sometimes it's the get the picture :)

When we bought this house back in 2008, we thought it would be Home.  Maybe not our forever home, but home as in a long term place...a place my kids would fondly think of during their most challenging years...a haven to nestle down the piano, watch a fire crackle, the grand entrance down the stair case at homecoming.  I knew there would be projects I'd want to do..paint..seriously, the living room was periwinkle and pink.  Change lighting, maybe cabinets and definitely the counter-tops, and the most poorly designed bathrooms known to man!  Not that they had to be done ASAP...or even within the first years.  I'm good with taking time, planning and creating a dream design on a beer budget.

When you buy a house, it's like a marriage.  Lot's of give and take.  This house has been an up hill battle.  It wasn't old by any means, but it sure wasn't new, nor as wonderfully built as the previous owners led us to believe. Yes, it has a great open floor plan...which has caused heating the upstairs almost impossible.  Poor insulation, antiquated HVAC system & roof are all delays we didn't expect when we bought this house.  All these problems have cause my hopes and dreams of creating this house a home to nearly disappear...until recently.

In 2014, or actually late 2013 I decided it was time.  Time to stoke the fire to my dreams of turning this house into our home.  The roof has been replaced, insulation installed and HVAC evaluated.  Can't do all those things at once.  It's funny how some can take a weekend and re-vamp an entire room.  Those of us with champagne taste on a beer budget know it's not that easy.  And why slap lipstick on a pig if it's wearing a masque?  The bones are getting stronger of this house.  So now it's time to start pulling together things that warm my heart, give me butterflies to see, & nest.

I'm excited...I bought a rug...a few lamps...a new rustic harvest table...wonderfully ornate chairs...amazing salvaged architectural stuff...antique chandis and lighting...I'm going to paint the kitchen cabinets..when I find the courage!  My dreams are smoldering...I'm designing...creating...Home~

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Another Revisit & Gilt Cream

Ever had that Christmas morning moment as an adult.  Seems like I have them frequently which makes me wonder if my mind is so simple and child like that I will never grow up or that I'm just easily entertained.  Either way I smile a lot :)

Some of you may remember a post about My Latest & Greatest...Continued.  Well, I'm happy to say...and sad to inform that this set has come and gone (the HAPPY part)...with few pictures (the sad part).

This sweet little set from 1934!  How did I know that?  It was stamped on the hardware.  Was an amazing find that just continued to get better and better the more I worked with it!  Love those!

Here is the After.  Again, I apologize for the wonky pictures.  Between it selling fast and bring it to the shop...I ran out of good photo opportunities.   Ahhh...just never enough time in the day;)

This set was SOOOO  beautiful when I was finished with it!  So many oohs and aaahs!  These pictures don't begin to give this wonderful piece justice!

This piece is a multi step project not for the faint of heart.  No, its not difficult, just time consuming.  Worth EVERY second for the finished product!
Step 1: I used Graphite for the base color.  
Step 2: Sand with 220 & then 600 grit sand papers.
Step 3: Clear Wax
Step 4: WAIT 24 Hours & then Buff
Step 5: I then used a French Linen wash.
Step 6: WAIT 24 Hours for the wash to completely dry
Step 7: Then mixed a glaze with dark wax, mineral spirits, and GILT CREAM!  IT'S IN THE STORE NOW!
Applied the glaze with a brush catching any runs with ripple cloth.
Step 8: WAIT another 24 hours
Step 9: Buff lightly and applied another layer of clear wax.
Step 10: WAIT 24 hours and then buff to perfection!

It was by far the MOST asked about piece in the shop thus far.  We had MANY face prints on the window of our lovely, drooling customers :)  We don't mind!  It was so worth drooling for!

Not only was it the most asked about piece, it also showcased a new product we have been working for months on getting in the store.  AND NOW IT'S IN!!!
These little creams are wonderful for mixing into glazes!  They add just a touch of sparkle!  When used alone, they really make a statement!  

I hope you have enjoyed this post and quick step by step of how I created the finish on this piece.  Let me know if you have any questions!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

English Yellow & Pure White

English Yellow is one of those colors that probably needs to be cut with another color as it's a very sharp color on it's own.  Another way to tone the color down is to pair it with it's complementary, violet or in this case Emile.

Let's start in the beginning!  Mixing Pure White and English Yellow in a 1 to 1 mix, this toned down the green-ish color of English Yellow while keeping the crisp feel of the color.  I put two coats, straight from the can.  Pure White is a little on the thin side as there's no pigment in the paint.  English Yellow is a little thin as well, so I decided to simply paint 2 coats straight from the can.  If you had time, and it's not 95 degree weather with 80% humidity like it is right now in northern Illinois, you could pop the can in the fridg and allow the paint to naturally thicken.  Another trick to thicken the paint is to leave the can open for a good bit to evaporate the water out of the paint.  I prefer not to do this as the paint can thicken too much too quickly.  Then it turns into a add a little water to thin it back out...oops! Now there's too much water again...and on and on!  Two to 3 coats with cover nicely!  And it still didn't take that much paint!

I picked this simple little dresser up at a sale and knew it would be perfect to show off a stencil I just ordered from Royal Design Studio.  It's called Arabesque Moroccan...I call it scrolly polly love!  When stenciling, the goal is to have contrast between the base coat and the stenciled image.  If I wanted to keep the sharp crisp color I created, I could have simply taken Annie Sloan lacquer and stenciled on top.  This would have created a monochromatic and very modern!  BUT...I wanted it to be very cottage so I went with Pure White.  Almost 100% of the time, I only put one coat of paint on when using a stencil.  It can be VERY time consuming and difficult to line up the stencil more than once...I'm not a pro by any means, so my stenciling is quick and efficient!  :)

Remembering that I'm quick and efficient when it comes to stenciling...I also lightly sand the stenciled surface.  This removes any "lips" from the relief of the stencil.  It also softens the image a bit so if there are any mistakes, they are less noticeable.

A little tip I almost always do to make each of my painted pieces stand out from the rest is painting the inside of the drawers.  It does take an extra bit of time, but the result is so worth it!  It simply ties the whole piece together and it's that little bit of unexpected flair that puts a smile on your face!

I finished off this cutie with clear wax and painted new hardware a crisp white to match the stenciled pattern.  I love how the hardware doesn't take away from the business of the stencil!

I hope you enjoy this little bit on English Yellow and my stenciling experience.

Friday, June 28, 2013

English Yellow~

Do you love the color of sunshine?  I do and now it's been contained in a quart!  Yes, English Yellow Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan is now available at the shop and truly is sunshine in a can!
Call to reserve your's today!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dolce bambina!

Sweet baby girl~

Have you ever had a piece that you painted and knew it would require just the right buyer?  I had a hot pink dresser for a few months.  Dressers seem to fly out the door so when one sits, you know it's the color.  Pink isn't for everyone, but it is for a Dolce bambina~

The problem when a piece sets it becomes stale.  You move it around the shop, stage is differently, chat about it as though it was your first true love, though you're so sick of it you can't stand looking at it another day!  That was this piece...not the one I'm sharing today...the other one..the one that made a sweet expecting mother tear up...

And the story goes....

So, I took it to Kane Co. Flea Market.  I knew it would sell there!  And it a very nice couple....who bought it to repaint it!  UGH!  This cute hot pink dresser was going blue I think...of all colors! To each their own!  And as if knowing it was going to be repainted wasn't bad enough...the sweetest expecting mother waltzed right up to the now sold dresser and shrieked "It's PERFECT!"....except it was SOLD...AND being painted!  The sweet expecting mother-to-be was so distraught!  Thought I HATED the dresser, I completely shared in her agony!  I honestly have never felt so terrible over a piece selling....tears were in the brims of both our eyes!

I knew I HAD to do something...find another dresser....paint it HOT PINK again!  As luck would have it, I went to a sale the next weekend and found a perfect set, even better than the original!

After a few conversations, I found out the couple is Italian.  And then I later found out they are Irish as I already had the stenciling done numbering the tall dresser drawers in Italian.  There are 3 different ways to count in Irish...or at least that's what I think I found on google :)  That's a little more complicated...I'll stick to English numbers and spelled Italian numbers.

This set is ready for the new owners to pick up and I hope they love it as much as I do!  I did spend extra time making it extra special...but hey, that's what fills my heart!

Until next time~
OR, visit my Facebook page...I update that daily :)

Pottery Barn Mallory Bedding
 Linking up to:
Miss Mustard Seed
My Romantic Home

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hello Ol Friend

It is hard to believe it's been nearly 6 months since my last post.  I'd love to say I've been off on a dream vacation enjoying white sand beaches, crystal blue water, warm sunny weather, and listening to my family create new memories...but I haven't.  I am SO blessed though that these last few months haven't been filled with sorrow nor loss. What these last few months have been filled with is a busy , flourishing shop with wonderful customers & friends, and lots of amazing treasures!  Life is great at Carter's Cottage, and busy!

June 2011

On June 15th, 2013 my little shop will celebrate it's 2nd Birthday!  Yep! It's been 2 years!  So much has changed since that first day and I'm so PROUD of where I've come and where I'm going.
Many have asked how am I so successful.  Well, success can be measured in many ways and not to gloat, I am success in many ways....and I'm not so successful in many other ways!  What I have the most difficulty with is delegating & asking for help.  It's gotten easier, but it's still hard to ask at times. 
I now only do what I'm good I hired someone to help with the books. Now that makes me happy, happy, happy!  I also hire a crew to help me move things around the shop and for shows.  I also have limited how many shows I do.  Yes, I just did NaDa...but forgot my camera! UGH!
Speaking of cameras, I had to assess 3 things. 1. Must do  2. Want to do. 3. Simply Can't do.
Now I evaluate everything... time with my family, junkin, fixin, socializin, shoppin, & bloggin.  Where do each of these things I love fit into the three categories? Family, obviously in category #1!  Socializin, #2 but often falls over into #3.  Junkin & shoppin, #1 & #2.  Fixin...usually #1 and sometimes #3.  Blogin...well, over the past few months, bloggin fell into the third category...I just simply haven't had the time.  This makes me really sad as I've always secretly wanted to be a writer.  Blogin was my way to live vicariously in a writers world.  I'd love to say I'll be postin 3 times a week!  Or, I'll be postin 2 times....1 time...ok I know how realistic this is....I'll be postin as often as I can.  Sometimes it maybe a few times a week...or it may be once a month.  Regardless, part of my success is taking time to fit all that I am into these above 3 categories...though some make me more sad then others when they fall into the 3rd the toilet...when that falls into the 3rd love lost there!
Now back to cameras...bloggin is all about the pretty pictures.  Editing pictures for a blog is a HUGE time sucker!  Which is why blogin falls into the 3rd category so often.  I can take a good picture, not a great picture...editing is both my friend and my enemy.  And more often than I care to confess, is the reason why I've not posted in so long.
So I'll post as often as I can.  Please forgive me for poorly edited pictures, misspelled words, and my ramblings.  These are all just a part of who I am, and why I'm successful. :)
Until next time~
Enjoy today, it's a present!